The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Fiat Scudo Combi offers loads of space for not much money. The downside of the Fiat is that it is little more than a van with windows and feels it.
Reasons to buy:
- Spacious, airy cabin
- Easy to drive
Our L2 test car did nothing to hide its commercial origins with its rubber carpets, plastic steering wheel and plenty of exposed metal. Still, the dashboard looks reasonably modern and the switchgear is logically placed. Unfortunately, the interior finish is at best workman-like and some of the plastics look like they will scratch easily with extended use. The panoramic windscreen makes the front compartment a very light, airy place to be, but the same couldn’t said for passengers in the rear, which felt a far darker place. It’s spacious, really spacious but the S-MAX and Alhambra are far better made and more attractive.
The Scudo should prove cheap to run as running costs should be no worse than rivals and you can expect 40mpg from the 2.0-litre diesel and a 18 g/km CO2 figure.
Scudo vans are a popular sight on UK roads, but reliability is questionable. Suspension and engine problems have been reported, so buy with care.
Top speed for the 163bhp 2.0-litre MultiJet test car we had was 106mph, with the dash to 62mph taking 12.8 seconds. This is far slower than the Ford (9.4 seconds) or the SEAT (10.3 seconds). The Scudo’s 2.0-litre diesel engine is best described as gutsy, but for better performance, the rivals are probably a better buying proposition. Our test car was fitted with the notchy six-speed manual transmission. There’s no automatic option.
Ride and handling
The Scudo’s suspension is unchanged over the van; as such it’s better at carrying heavy loads than giving a comfortable ride. The imprecise steering and wallowy handling mean it is not as satisfying or as much fun to drive as either the S-MAX or Alhambra. However, grip is generally good and the Scudo is easy to drive, with light controls.
There’s no EuroNCAP crash test rating, but the Scudo is fitted with a driver’s airbag, ABS with electronic brake force distribution and ESP.
All Scudos are moderately equipped with air-conditioning, electric mirrors, electric front windows and remote central locking. On top of this, our car had a CD player.
It might be a van with windows, but where the Scudo Combi scores over the S-MAX and Alhambra is that there are few cheaper ways to carry six people with a really practical interior.
Looks are not a Fiat Scudo stong point, with its boxy, van-like shape, it looks far too much like a commercial vehicle with windows. Which, to be honest it is. Design highlights include the massive angular headlights, large front grille and panoramic front windscreen. Proper, more modern rivals such as the Ford S-MAX and SEAT Alhambra look far more futuristic and car-like.
Sadly, an excellent, upright driving position in the Scudo is spoilt by too little foot room. Another annoyance is the odd placing of the handbrake on the driver’s side. Still, because of the upright driving position and tall design, headroom in the front is fine for taller drivers and the seats are both supportive and comfortable. There is plenty of head and leg room for the three individual rear seats and if you’ve got a set of screwdrivers and spanners, these move forward and back to increase practicality. The 1600-litre boot is a practical shape and is far bigger than rivals. The downsides are the three rear seats don’t fold down and the S-MAX and Alhambra seat more passengers. Considering the Fiat’s length and the fact it’s trying to appeal to the family market, why aren’t front and rear parking sensors fitted as standard? We found that the Scudo’s long front and rear overhangs made it difficult to judge distance when parking and manoeuvring.